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Afshan Iqbal
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Marital Adornments Impact Women’s Lives. Definitely!
When a woman gets married, she is supposed to adorn herself with the symbols of marriage like the sindoor and mangalsutra. It is obligatory for women to wear it along with bangles and other pieces of jewellery to symbolize that they are married. It is an existing culture and tradition of our country. When a woman denies or forgets to wear it, it is considered inauspicious and unethical. The woman is blamed for any problem that occurs in her husband’s life. Why is it mandatory? Why is it not a choice? Why is it a symbol of marriage? Sindoor in the parting of the hair, mangalsutra on the neck, particular bangles and toe rings are among the most common markers signifying that a woman is married. The marital adornments become a validation for a successful marriage. Isn’t it strange? Any act of denying these adornments leads to people thinking that the wife doesn’t love her husband or she doesn’t want good for him or it’s a misfortune. People also say that the wife’s adornment is a symbol of her husband’s long life. Everything that a wife wears symbolizes her husband’s well being but what about her own identity and well being? Shouldn’t it be a woman’s choice? It should be up to a woman if she decides to wear marital adornments or not. A married woman has to decide this for herself. No one should judge her for choice. Since earlier times, patriarchy determined that marriage symbols for women are to imply that a married woman belongs to another man. There’s immense family and societal pressure on women to adhere to such norms and conform to the role of the ‘good wife’ not just in action but also in appearance. Women who refuse to conform are always looked down upon and are constantly reminded of it. Just because a woman does not wear any marital adornment symbols for her marital status, in no way means that she considers the marriage insignificant or is disloyal. The choice to wear or not to wear certainly does not measure a woman’s character. A marriage fails because of incompatibility, unhappiness, mental or physical violence and disrespect and it cannot be saved, no matter how many such symbols are displayed or rituals are practised. Women are judged and ashamed because of this which impacts a woman’s life. She is forced to deny her own identity and only adorn for her husband’s sake. It is a patriarchal norm that needs to shackle.